The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy
Show Less

The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy

Edited by John B. Davis, Alain Marciano and Jochen Runde

The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy aims to demonstrate exactly how these two important areas have always been linked, and to illustrate the key areas of overlap. The contributors are well-known and distinguished authors from a variety of disciplines, who have been invited both to survey and to provide a personal assessment of current and prospective future states of their respective areas of philosophical interest.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 19: Collective Intentionality, Complex Economic Behavior, and Valuation

John B. Davis


John B. Davis ‘We think, therefore we are.’ (Shaftesbury, 1900 [1963], vol. 2, p. 275) In this chapter I depart from the standard view of the individual in economics as an atomistic being to consider the individual as a socially embedded being. There are of course many different ways of understanding individuals as socially embedded; the conception I employ, however, is based on collective intentionality analysis, particularly as formulated by Raimo Tuomela. There is an advantage to economic analysis in doing this. Whereas other views of social embeddedness are holistic, and reason mostly in terms of social entities, collective intentionality analysis is explicitly an account of individuals, albeit in a particular kind of social setting. This makes it possible to compare the understanding of economic behavior that emerges from a collective intentionality analysis of individuals with the understanding of economic behavior associated with the standard rationality view of individuals as atomistic beings. Further, as an account of individuals, collective intentionality analysis also offers a way of understanding the seemingly paradoxical idea that individuals can be socially embedded and yet remain distinct beings. The basic idea derives from our understanding of first person plural intentions, or we-intentions. Only individuals form such intentions, just as only individuals form first person singular intentions, or I-intentions, but we-intentions effectively embed social relationships in individuals. This contrasts with holist accounts of social embeddedness that rather run the risk of eliminating individuals when they embed individuals in social relationships. Collective intentionality analysis thus allows us to...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.